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‘Jail Bharo’ movement essential to remove government
By Chaturanan Mishra

Jamiatul Ulama-e-Hind has started a peaceful, nationwide "jail bharo" (court arrest) movement from October 2, i.e., Gandhi Jayanti, to October 15 to focus government’s attention on the ills and problems faced by the Muslim community and society. It has submitted a memorandum to the prime minister with a charter of demands for improvement of the Muslim society and solution of their problems. Before all this, Jamiatul Ulama president, Maulana Asad Madni, had invited some friends and prominent personalities for consideration and consultation in these matters over dinner. Among those invited for this dinner and consultation were Ahmad Patel, MP, Mr Bhardwaj, former law minister and Supreme Court lawyer, secretary All India Congress Committee’s minority cell, quite a few others, including me.

Jamiatul Ulama has played an important role in the country’s freedom movement and its president, Maulana Madni, has been a great nationalist leader. He was also my colleague in the Rajya Sabha for six years. Muslims had been active under his leadership, and some or other problem was always highlighted. I accompanied him during his tour of Bhopal and Mumbai after the demolition of Babari Masjid. I was also present at the meeting held in Lucknow in protest against the religious places bill.

The memorandum submitted by the Jamiat to the prime minister appears to give the impression that the present government will accede to its demands, though Maulana Madni or anyone else does not entertain such hopes. About Gujarat’s recent massacres some people think that this is nothing new and that these riots also were like any other riots that had been taking place in the past. This is, however, a totally erroneous view. Gujarat’s anti-Muslim pogroms were like Hitler’s campaigns to propagate aggressive German nationalism after genocide of Jews.

It is necessary to understand the conspiracies of the Modis, Singhals, and all manner of Bajrangdalis, and their efforts to spread hate against Muslims inside and outside Gujarat. They were alarmed when BJP suffered defeat in the recent elections. These leaders openly said that whatever happened in Gujarat was only a rehearsal and the final was yet to take place. According to them, this also showed Hindu awakening. Modi did not listen to anybody. And why should he? The deputy prime minister said in London that whatever happened in Gujarat was a black spot on his government, but in India he says that all that was revenge against the happenings in Godhra,. and hence, there was enough justification for Mod's gaurav yatra The prime minister and BJP president also repeated the same thing.

Modi attacks the Election Commission. VHP openly says that it will not abide by the Supreme Court’s verdict. After such bloody and inhuman riots, Modi takes out a gaurav yatra and uses indecent, vulgar and humiliating language against Muslims, and thus adds insult to injury. It is no surprise if after all this incidents like Akshardham take place. The government is incapable of protecting temples, mosques, parliament, Amarnath pilgrims etc. If anything, these leaders act as agents provocateurs.

It is therefore essential to start a "jail bharo" movement throughout the country, or even some other stronger movement to oust BJP-led alliance government like JP’s movement. It must be clearly understood that this government is making the Constitution and laws of the country ineffective. It is weakening people’s belief in democracy. By starting a campaign of hate against Muslims it wants a mad and short-sighted popular decision. Therefore, this problem is not concerned with violation of minorities' rights only. People of all faiths and beliefs, all secular and democratic- minded people should rise against government policies of encouraging religious and communal politics. And they are actually rising also.

The Election Commission did not agree to government’s biased and motivated views. The Supreme Court also did not agree to it. Even the head priest of Akshardham temple criticised Modi. Under such circumstances there is no sense in starting a "jail bharo" movement on a single demand or a single case of injustice, particularly when such incidents are taking place one after the other, thereby creating suspicions among both Hindu and Muslims against each other. If, under these circumstances, the US attacks Iraq, the situation can lead to more complications and problems.

Therefore, a new memorandum should be drawn up the very first demand of which should be removal of BJP-led coalition. This government has abandoned the foreign policy being successfully pursued from Nehru’s time and made the country a crony of the US. This is the government which has lowered the prestige of India in the international community, and that too at a time when Germany, France, China, Russia and even Canada are not prepared to support the US. Only Tony Blair is supporting the US. This government is selling out the honour and dignity of the country. It is also selling government undertakings, industries and factories, petrol pumps and government land at throw away prices. This is a government which is destroying the crops of farmers, retrenching labourers and increasing unemployment among youth.

Under these circumstances what is the sense in asking only Muslims to agitate? Instead of raising old demands and highlighting the problems of one section of the Indian society only, it would be necessary to highlight national problems and put up a national front. Leaders of Jamiatul Ulama did the right thing in meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi, CPI (M) leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet and others. These steps should be carried forward so that things may further improve. The secular opposition parities should know that their efforts are not bearing any fruits. The government is not paying any attention at all to their demands for removal of Modi, and examination of Tehelka, petrol pump scam etc. Under such circumstances, every one should struggle hard for creating an atmosphere in the country wherein leaders of all secular political parties should join together on a common platform. I had told Mulayam Singhji at a meeting about this unity of all secular parties.

Another reason for crisis and worry among Muslims is destruction of Afghanistan by the US, its warlike attitude towards Iraq and opposition towards Palestinians. The US has evil design not only against Iraq and Iran, but Saudi Arabia also. Leaving aside Musharraf in Pakistan and leaders of Bangladesh, the US wants to strike against Muslims all over the world. Because of these reasons, anti-American feeling is becoming more and more intense among Muslims all over the world. Same is the case in India also. But anti-war demonstrations like Europe and Great Britain are not taking place in India because Osama bin Laden, Taliban and Pakistan have declared jehad against India also, and Muslim leaders in India are not openly and strongly opposing it. Making people of two different religions, Hindus and Muslims, fight against each other is against the teaching of Islam but these jehadis attack Amarnath pilgrims in India and Hindu temples like Akshardham in order to make Hindus and Muslims fight against each other. In such communal riots, mostly Muslims are killed. In this way these jehadis carry on with their politics on the dead bodies of Muslims. If Muslim leaders of India openly and strongly opposed jehadis' cry of jehad against India, anti-American feelings may be roused in India also in the same way as Gandhiji had led opposition against the British together with Khilafat movement.

For Indian Mulsims and other minorities, democracy is essential. Indian Muslims know this by their own experience. Recently during elections in Kashmir, these jehadis daily committed murders in opposition to democracy, but even then voters turned out in large numbers. Voters staked their lives for using their right to vote. Muslim leaders did not condemn such brutal acts of jehadis as strongly as they should have done. Democracy should be supported not in mild tones but in loud and strong tones. They should have supported democracy with the same zeal and fervour as their ulama had been fighting for freedom, secularism and democracy. The same spirit is needed today also. If Indian Muslim leaders expose such jehadis, it will be greatly helpful in exposing the Sangh Parivar. Kashmir voters, most of whom are Muslims, are in fact doing so even at the risk of their lives.
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